Friday, 15 March 2013

Thinking Vertically for Strawberry Growing



Nothing speaks of summer so eloquently as a dish of strawberries, eaten warm and richly glowing, straight from the garden.”  (Anna Pavord)

I don’t have much room for strawberries in the veg garden so I usually think vertically for planting.  Hanging baskets, plant pots on the greenhouse staging or troughs raised off the floor.  There are a few reasons for this – one is that it stops slugs and  birds attacking the precious berries and the other is that when they start fruiting they look decorative trailing over the sides of the containers, plus it makes them easier to harvest.  I have just transplanted my overwintering plants into larger pots in the greenhouse in the hope of getting an early crop.


July 2012

Once you have the main plants you need never buy any more as you increase your stock by potting up the strawberry runners, so they are perfect for frugal gardeners.  I am not into growing strawberries for huge crops – just enough for a few pots of jam a few desserts and plenty of freshly picked to eat raw with cream or ice cream.  The thought of picking punnet after punnet daily and then wondering what to do with them all until I get sick of them, is not the point.  I treasure each berry, maybe picking just a saucerful each day, but that is enough for me and my needs.


29th May 2012

Apparently there are more than 600 varieties of strawberry that differ in size, texture and flavour and cultivation has been taking place for over 300 years.  Wild strawberries are known to have existed for more than 2,000 years.  In the 18th c. a French engineer working in Chile found a native strawberry larger than those grown in Europe.  Cross-breeding occurred naturally between this and a N.American variety.  The result was a hybrid strawberry that was large, juicy and sweet and it grew in popularity, but was regarded as a luxury item until the 19th c.  It is now the most popular berry in the world.

Hanging basket - 23rd June 2012


“The modern strawberry is a tale of disappointment and delight.  I have learned to treat each punnet of really good berries I encounter as a box of fleeting, precious jewels, a treat to be enjoyed with unalloyed pleasure; no cream, no sugar or splash of Beaujolais, just the warm berry in all its scarlet glory.  That perfect fruit is a rare find, but once you chance upon it life seems, for an instant, to stand still.  Eyes closed, you are briefly lost in buttercup meadows, with bees buzzing on the heavy afternoon air.” (Nigel Slater)

Greenhouse strawberries 12th June 2012


Is the strawberry your favourite berry?

38 comments:

  1. I'd be hard pressed to choose a favourite berry but I love strawberries when they are sun ripened and sweet but I also love raspberries.

    WE do get times when we have lots of strawberries but we are never at a loss for what to do with them. We are eating some of last year's now as a compote with porridge or yoghurt.

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    1. I love the smell of strawberries you don't get that so much with raspberries, to be honest I don't think I could choose between them.

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  2. By keeping my strawberries in pots I'm hoping for a bigger harvest this year.

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    1. Last year wasn't the best of years for soft fruit harvests.

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  3. My needs would be about the same as yours - how many plants do you have?

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    1. I have a dozen plants in the greenhouse and another five in hanging baskets but as they seem to ripen at different times I never seem to have a glut just a nice steady supply.

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  4. Our newly planted strawberries drowned several times last year so early winter, I potted them up and placed them in a raised bed. Now I have 4 troughs and some old greenhouse shelves that we are adapting to make staggered tiers in our fruit cage. Just hope we have some sun to enjoy them. Only tasted one last year, the rest rotted!

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    1. A good summer would be helpful - hope yours do well this year.

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  5. Yes strawberries are my favourite berry...there is nothing like picking a strawberry on a warm sunny day and eating it straight away...when I do this I know why I love growing my own fruit and veg.

    Love the interesting facts about strawberries, thanks for posting it.

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    1. I agree with you growing and harvesting my own fruit and veg never fails to give me pleasure.

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  6. I used to grow strawberries in a couple of large containers, but after reorganising my garden I no longer have room for them in enough sun. My 28 strawberry plants are therefore moving home in a couple of weeks, down to Kent to someone I know, where they will get a good, new home. I will miss them, but not a lot. I am going to grow other things instead :-)

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    1. That's a shame but they definitely need a sunny spot so perhaps you have done the kindest thing in sending them to a new home.

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  7. Growing them under cover and in containers is the best idea. Last year ours disappeared overnight even though they were netted. Found a pile of them behind the shed, Voles or mice I think, storing them away! xx

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    1. Little devils are there no lengths these critters will go to - if it's not slugs, it's birds and now mice - tut!

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  8. Oh I'm so looking forward to some home grown strawberries this year. I've gone for pots.

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  9. I think I have to go with Sue, raspberries are my all time favourite berry, but I do love a tasty strawberry. I'm trying alpine strawberries this year, but will have to give some thought to growing some "normal" ones if I can work out where and how to grow them, I am rapidly running out of space, and hanging baskets are already earmarked for tomatoes!!

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    1. My next door neighbour grows alpines but her dog seems to eat most of them!

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  10. I always thought that raspberries were much tastier than strawberries. But then my neighbour gave me some runners from his plants and they are really full of flavour, so now I'm not so sure! I've tried growing strawberries in pots but they always end up dying because I forget to water them every day - and they do like a lot of water. Do you have any tips for keeping them happy in pots?

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    1. I use a mix of John Innes with my compost - it retains the moisture for longer.

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  11. A couple of years back I bought some terracotta Strawberry pots. Each takes 9 plants; just enough to grab one or two berries each time I pass by.

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    1. I love strawberry pots they look great with all the strawberries hanging out of the sides.

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  12. A welcome post of what's hopefully to come!
    I much prefer blackberries and raspberries but do grow some strawberries. I moved them last autumn so wonder how they'll do this year. Flighty xx

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    1. Strawberry plants are tough as old boots they seem to thrive whatever you do to them.

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  13. I put out some jam jars of beer last year to catch the slugs who had been eating my strawberries, and came back the next day to find a drowned mouse in one of the jars! I hope your hanging baskets have less problems with slugs and mice!

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    1. Luckily when strawberries are grown above ground level you don't get mouse or slug problems.

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  14. Strawberries are my favourite berries, but they're my daughter's favourite too, so I have to share. I don't think I'd ever end up wondering what to do with them, they don't last long enough in this house. Talking of growing strawberries vertically, there's a new climbing variety available now :- http://www.thompson-morgan.com/fruit/fruit-plants/strawberry-plants/strawberry-mount-everest/cww3590TM?source=google-prodex&gclid=CLz2kuaYhrYCFfDJtAodBRoA3g

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  15. Don't read any personality traits into this but I REALLY like gooseberries! Having said that I have strawberry plants in pots, hanging baskets and a couple at the allotment .... when my son was very little he got so impatient at waiting until the berries were red enough to pick he went and painted them!

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    1. I like gooseberries later in the season when they are soft and plump and taste like Kiwi fruit, eating them raw then is pure pleasure.

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  16. Yum, my mouth is watering already thinking about the strawberries to come! The slugs ate most of my strawberries on my patch at the allotment last year so growing out of reach of those little pests sounds a good plan.

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    1. I know one thing the strawberries are going to be a lot later this year - I wonder how the slugs are getting on in this cold weather - badly, I hope.

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  17. Mmm... strawberry jam springs to mind. You've given me a welcome little burst of Summer and I can't wait for my strawberry pot to produce again x

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    1. Strawberry jam is a favourite - like opening a jar of summer.

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  18. I agree with you - strawberries look great in containers. Last summer any shop-bought strawberries we ate were so disappointing - most were mushy, as if they had been frosted.

    That's a fabulous quote from Nigel Slater -I love his writing.

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    1. I never buy shop-bought strawberries home-grown just taste so much better. I love Nigel's writing too he has such a way with words.

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  19. I think Strawberries have to be my favorite berry/fruit (only just ahead of Pineapples and Bananas). If you are limited for growing space take a look at this blog post (pallets). I think the link is correct? http://ckplantnursery.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/a-few-catch-up-pics.html

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    1. Thanks Rooko I'll check out the blog post you recommended.

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